Skip to main content

Full text of "Address at the inauguration of President Wilson"

See other formats







J. G. de R. Hamilton 






This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill 



Old Series Vol. XXII. No. 2. New Series Vol. XI. 


PHI. , DI. 

George W. Connor, W. E. Rollins, 

C. F. Harvey. E. Payson Willard. 

Howard E. Rondthaler, ] t> • th- 

W. E. Darden; I ^"siness Managers. 

Published six times a year under the auspices of the Philanthropic and 
Dialetic Societies. Subscription, $1.00. Single copy, 20 cents. 

Entered at the Post Office of Chapel Hill as second class matter. 



(We reproduce from the State Chronicle of Oct. 20, Mr. Page's speech, 
the sentiments of which should inspire new zeal into eveiy student and 
Alumnus of the University for oiiginal study in the solution of the Race- 

We note here with pleasure, that the Societies have begun to take the 
matter in hand, having appointed a comniittee to confer with the Faculty 
in regard to the furtherance of Mr. Page's suggestion, and we hope soon 
to see the plan take on a definite course, for in no way could the Univer- 
sity of North Carolina be better brought before the people of the United 
States than by this. — Ed.) 

Mr. President : — I greet you with the earnest congratulations 
that befit the taking on of a clear duty which leads to a high 

For it is much to have one's duty clear; to have a clear duty 
that brings a high opportunity is all we can ask the gods to give. 

In a time when perplexities hedge men of energy and the 
right way is often hidden by the number of roads that lead to 


places of rest or to eminences of honorable toil, to you the way is 
straight. By the gentlest change the dignity of the past now 
takes on energy for the future. To the headship of this venerated 
institution, we that live on hope and not on memories, welcome 
you, pledging what help we can give, and, as workers in other 
ways, the cheer of most loyal comradeship. 

And this hour of your consecration is a time to us of solemn 
joy. The hopes we build are high, for as wo read our calendar it 
is a day of broadening opportunity. In our gentle contention with 
them that have sat in the way of progress all that we have ever 
asked is opportunity. 

And we are glad that it is you that have inherited this high 
trust; for, deep-rooted in the past and clothed with our best tradi- 
tions, you have kept pace to the quickened step of a new era. 1 
greet you holding the hope of our most venerable institution just 
when our life swings forward into a larger day. 

And the gentleness with which great changes come and the 
old times blossom into new is a rebuke to our impatience ; for how 
gently this movement forward has been taken ! 

I see such changes even between my visits here, that the men 
who die between times seem at once to become part of a long-past 
epoch It was only the other day for instance that we had the 
good fortune (and it was an education in nobility and gentleness) — 
to have Professor Hooper here — the bearer of her stateliest pres- 
ence that ever clothed the form of man. And of all the fine sights 
of enthusiasm in the world there never was a finer than that we 
saw here for so many years — until just now — when Mr. Paul Cam- 
eron, on commencement day rose from his seat and very slowly, 
marched upon this rostrum, when the company began to sing the 
"Old North State." "Give me my hat," he said, and when some 
one gave it to him, with a flush on his ruddy countenance as beau- 
tiful as the rosy cheeks of childhood and his gray hair flowing, he 
waved the hat above his head and cried out : "Hurrah !" "Hurrah !" 
You will never see a more spontaneous enthusiasm than that, nor 
a sight that you will remember longer. 

The very mention of only these two honored and honorable 
men brings a different atmosphere from the atmosphere you 



breathe here now-an air laden with the perfume of a perfect cul- 
ture of its kind, that comes now as across the years in lonely hours 
comes the memory of our childhood. Yet the feet of these gentle 
and noble men have just now ceased to come and go with us ; 
and I am sure that their benediction rests on us. It would be a 
pleasure to-day to assure them that their memory is held dear and 
their characters shall guide us and their manners be our manners 
in the broader way that opens to us. 

And for this broader way it is a memorable privilege to be 
able to thank the clean hands and the noble aims of your prede- 
cessor; for he it was that reconstructed the University when the 
mad revolutionists that desecrated it were driven from it as the 
money changers were driven from the temple. In a period of des- 
olation it was he who brought back again the fine spirit of the old 
times; and he will live as the preserver and the transmitter of our 
best traditions. Him, too, we honor and love, honoring ourselves 
thereby. For in our annals his name is safe, and he has passed 
into our history before he is taken from our thankful companion- 
ship. The opportunity that came in storm to him, in calm he has 
broadened and transmitted to you. Thankfully remember, for all 
men will remember, that much of the reward that you will reap 
is of labor of his doing. You have a high place, made higher by 
his bearing in it. 

But this would be an hour of only idle compliment — unworthy 
of your purpose and of our solemn jubilation, if we forgot the 
breadth of that opportunity or failed to hold up a measure of it 

It were an event of little consequence if this change of Presi- 
dents did not bring a change of meaning. The retirement of a 
veteran to make place for a recruit is not an event worthy of cele- 
bration; that were merely the even flow of things as men grow up 
and grow old. But this change is more than that, and in coming 
to your christening we think we come to celebrate the intellectual 
awakening of the people. 

For the one fact that it is now our duty to insist on as you 
take this high trust and we charge you to remember, is that this 
is the people's institution. Settle all mortgages to-day that all 
classes and sections of society have on you. Eenounce forever 


servitude to ecclesiastism and partyism and set out to be the rul- 
ing and the shaping force among the energies that stir the people 
and are making of our old fields a new earth, of our long slumber- 
ing land a resounding workshop. 

Remembering that this is the people's institution, look with 
me for a moment over the commonwealth, and we shall see the 
most interesting social problem on the continent. 

These people sprung of hardy stock, living out of the currents 
of the world's activity, nurtured in the simple creed of frugality 
and reverence in a land where living is easy, have inherited a tra- 
dition that somehow education is a thing for a particular class; and 
here, by a strange absence of events and by the accident of location, 
is one of the very sturdiest communities of the whole English race 
yet in the crude stage of development of a preceding century. On 
the hills alike of the Catawba and of the Eoanoke a hundred years 
ao-o men followed plows of the Homeric fashion drawn by bullocks 
to make shallow furrows in little fields of new ground to grow 
little stores of corn. To-day alike on the hills of the Roanoke and 
of the Catawba you may see men following plows of Homeric 
fashion drawn by bullocks to make shallow furrows in little fields 
of new ground (now made new for the second time) to grow the 
same little stores of corn. Meantime their kinsmen; men of Eng- 
lish stock, no whit more capable than they, have brought three 
continents under their sway and the rise of science has made new 
the intellectual life of men. Here alone, alike on the banks of the 
Roanoke and of the Catawba great change has come not and the 
creeds of a century ago have not flowed into wider channels. 

What a proof of the power of a hindering tradition ! Any 
other race would have lost its capacity. And what a tribute this 
is to the fibre of our stock ! For the people of North Carolina 
have not lost their capacity. Whenever an event of the outside 
world has broken through our barriers of State pride, they have 
shown themselves capable, as for example, in our civil war. In 
that stirring time there were uncommon men developed. They 
went forth showing endurance and courage even when it was 
folly to be brave. 

Of the influences that have chained them, one was slavery, 
the shadow of which falls long and lingers heavy yet ; another was 


a pioneer church that hardened its emotional creed into an ada- 
mantine intolerance which fashioned for docile necks the yoke of 
petty ecclesiasticism, whose halter spared not this institution 
itself; worse than all was a subtle social creed growing out of these 
things that suppressed individual effort. I recall now how greatly 
I suffered in my own childhood because at our foremost school (it 
was then just over the hills here) the boys rated one another 
according to the military prominence of their fathers, and my 
father was so unthoughtful as not to be even a colonel. 

Under these influences the people have slumbered long, and 
have been the prey of small agitations (see how, for example, they 
lie bound by the straw of a Farmers' Alliance, led by them of the 
long beards, to whose dominating delusion our greatest and 
broadest and most honored and best beloved public servant paid 
the homage of surrender). 

Now, not in a 8piritofblame(forwho shall say who is to blame?) 
it becomes us to-day to see the truth — that during this slumber of 
the people this institution did not touch them. This institution 
was little more than the conservator of our best traditions, an 
asylum where the sons of gentle nature in a rough-time might 
breathe the air of a preceding era and become the contemporaries 
of their grand-fathers when their grand-fathers themselves were 
youths ; where they sat down with their ancestors on the easy 
terms of comradeship in years, manners, doctrines and ideals, and 
danced (when the preachers allowed it) with their own grand- 
mothers in their maidenhood. 

The strongest men, as a rule, have not been the men of your 
moulding. In every part of the commonwealth youth have gone 
forth to be shepherds of millions and leaders of men, whose hands 
are felt on the markets of the world and who are among the fore- 
most commercial minds in a commercial era. Yet they never felt 
the moulding touch of your hands in their youth and in their man- 
hood many of them are denied the power of repose and do not 
know the precious secret of refreshing themselves with the poets, 
or of finding calm in the classics. Yet if our University had 
touched (could have touched) the people it would have touched 
such men, and to have fashioned them would have glorified the 


University as its traditions, noble in spite of narrowness, have 
sanctfied it. 

But the long, slumbering people are now waking, for a new 
influence has touched them. The love of gain has never failed as 
a goad, and it is not failing now. It is calling into activity all the 
dormant powers of the people. In old fields where time had hardly 
smoothed the furrows of slave plowmen, we have seen great facto- 
ries rise ; our people are becoming the builders of cities, the loaders 
of industry, the architects of fortunes. We are even told, on good 
authority, that within an area that has our mountains for its 
centre and this village on its outskirts, the coming masters of the 
markets of the world will live and work. So a new force is already 
come — a force that sets little store by ecclesiastical or social habits 
and that will soon mould a people of money makers and this 
change brings your change. 

The University in its new era must become a force alongside 
this new force — a dominating influence over it. For you know 
this sacred truth — that the race for wealth leaves the runners 
exhausted ; and men get punier as they grow richer. 

What is the proper measure of this new awakening? The 
measure of the men it produces, and this only. It is not the 
measure of the wealth produced. Neither here nor elsewhere in 
this time nor ever is the value of industrial life the sum total of its 
concrete product, but only and always the sum total of its man- 

And it is to you, and to you chiefly, indeed to you only, that 
we have to look for the proper guidance of this new power. To 
the church we cannot look, for seldom has ecclesiasticism wisely 
directed wealth towards a broad development. While we are poor 
we starve the church into mendicancy ; when we get rich it is 
unreasonable to expect it to show independence. 

Neither can we look to politics properly to direct our new 
industrial energy. Politics too clearly and surely profits by 
wealth and even by the prostitution of wealth for us to expect the 
wisest training of it. So, too, of the press. 

Now when this gigantic energy is newly released it brings a 
necessity, such a necessity as did not exist even in a period of 
inertia, for a broad balancing force ; and if you look for such a 


force will find it only here — here where our high ti-aditions of a 
manly era centre, among which is the tradition that a true inde- 
pendence of character is better than riches. It is upon this tradi- 
tion of our earlier times that our salvation now depends. Look 
forth over the world and in spite of the increasing comfort alike 
of the few and the multitude, everywhere the duUi-ng touch of 
money-getting has tamed men's generous impulses and there has 
been a loss of that virile and prodigal nobility of spirit that made 
the "old Southern gentleman" before he became grotesque, the 
most erect man that we have bred. 

If it seems absured that I speak here against the perils of 
wealth, I pray you remember it is not wealth itself you have to fear 
any more than it is from actual wealth that you now suffer; but it 
is the governing habit of mind that puts a pecuniary value on all 
things, and this habit of mind has already come. Already in most 
of our new towns you may see that type of man who, after devo- 
tion to a narrow creed for several generations has been smitten by 
prosperity and now presents the spectacle of a gilded and rancid 
self-righteousness. So the danger and opportunity that now 
awaits us are the opportunity and the danger of our industrial 

The North Carolinian of the past we know; we know, too, 
the North Carolinian of the present, and he is very like his ances- 
tor. What type of man this new industrial activity is going to 
make the North Corolinian of the future we can yet only guess, 
but this is the force that is going to make him. Let yours be the 
force that guides him. 

To guide him you must fall into line with him, along with his 
activity your activity must be felt. 

Now while an intimate connection between an institution 
of learning and the industrial activity of the people is easy to talk 
about, it is difficult to make. What is there, for instance, in common 
between your young men whose delight is reading Horace and the 
busy men who are laying the foundation of fortunes by the manu- 
facture of tobacco ? What can there be in common between an 
institution whose aim it is to introduce men to the clasBsics, and 
the activity of men whose aim it is to sell town lots at a premium? 
Of course, in a general way, this problem has to be met by every 


institution of learning, has to be met, indeed, by every individual 
of high intellectual inspiration. 

Nevertheless, I do not think there is an insurmountable v^all 
between these two kinds of activity, because University life has 
now become so diverse. It is simply a problem of adapting one 
force to another in a helpful way rather than in hindering 
way, although I may seem to go very far out of academic paths. 
I venture to point out one direction in which I think the two 
forces might be made yoke-fellows, and that of course is in a line 
of work with which my own labors happen to have made me 

You have now here, lying all about you in the every-day life 
of the people, facts and tendencies that are the crude materials of 
one of the most interesting problems of this century, a problem 
that civilized men in every country are eagerly watching; a 
problem about which students of social science everywhere are 
making speculations ; a problem on which I dare say you could 
throw more light than has yet been thrown by all other students 
put together, because your opportunities are greater than the 
opportunities of other men. 

It is a problem in social development, a clear statement of 
which would bring a reputation that would be world wide, and 
the University by taking hold on it would put men overywhere 
under obligations to you and give the institution a new intellec- 
tual rating. • It is simply this : 

What is to be the outcome of the living and working together 
of the two races ? 

Time long enough has elapsed since the emancipation of the 
slaves to show clearly the main tendencies that point to further 
development, and yet, except for a few facts that are thrown upon 
it by the United States census, there is everywhere a confusing 
mass of discussion, everywhere a lack of exact information. 
"Would it seem to you too revolutionary a proposition if I were to 
suggest that you organize a seminarium of social science and set 
your eager students to work as a body of enquirers to gather the 
facts in every county in the State to show precisely what are the 
relations between the two races, and in what respects these rela- 
tions have changed in the last twenty-five years? If a company 


of twenty-five or thirty energetic young men were to go forth, one 
in one community and one in another, every one equipped with a 
set of inquiries upon which they had agreed in advance, and were 
to gather answers to these inquiries by their own investigation, 
and then if this whole mass of facts were brought together and 
properly classified and properly interpreted, I say that you would 
have a piece of literature on an important subject in social science 
that would be read and welcomed everywhere that studious men 
live. Nor do I believe that this would be difficult ; for there is not 
a newspaper in the State that would not feel proud to aid you, 
and every one could give great aid by opening its columns for you 
to ask questions, and you might have a volume of correspondence 
here from men, black and white, from every township in every 
county in this State even before your next commencement. If at 
your next commencement instead of orations on abstract subjects 
about which the learning of youth is so much greater than the 
wisdom of manhood, you were to present the results of original 
investigations, I venture the prediction that there will be nothing 
published from any institution of learning in the United States 
this year that will be more interesting than of what you would 
put forth. I am sure, too, that the rigid training which may be 
got from the collection and handling of a large body of vital facts 
like this would be quite equal as an intellectual exercise to the 
training that is got in class rooms. 

But the main point is not simply that you would have achieved 
something worth the doing and that you would be doing good 
training work also, but more important than these is this: that 
by such work you would be sure to arouse every man who ever 
thinks, from one end of the State to the other, in your institution 
and in your work ; and many an old man who follows his bullock 
over his field of new ground to grow his little store of grain and 
has wondered whether the negro will always be the negro that he 
is, would have his attention arrested by the fact that the Univer- 
sity of all things in the world, was trying to solve and find out 
facts about which he too had given serious thought. He would 
have a profounder regard for University than he had ever had, 
and it might occur to him that it might benefit his son. If you 
once got the interest of the common people aroused in your insti- 


tution in such logical and natural ways as this, by creating a unity 
of interests and a unity of aims with the people, I think the day 
will soon come when your President would not have to wait on 
the legislature to secure an appropriation large enough to meet 
your expenses. It would be only a question to submit to a tax 
and a constantly increasing tax, if necessary, to perpetuate and to 
make broader the institute that reflects glory on the State and 
gives him food for his own thought to grow on. 

This, of course, is but one little suggestion along one line of 
work, and out of your fertility and the fertility of your faculty 
suggestions along many lines worth many times more than this 
will come. The single hint that I would drop is this, that in pro- 
portion as you lay hold on present conditions and show yourself 
interested in those things in which the people are themselves 
interested, you will place yourselves in a position where you can 
question and shape them, building up and balanciug their thoughts. 

So that when I said you are happy in having a clear duty, 
before you, I meant that you have not to face the perplexing 
questions of a complex culture, but a simple and primary task, 
fundamental, secondary to none, and more useful than mere aca- 
demic task, and when I said that this clear duty leads to a great 
opportunity, I meant the opportunity of doing the noblest and 
highest democratic work, the intellectual awakening of the whole 
people whose traditions you have perpetuated aud whose love you 
hold — a task that owing to the peculiar stage of their development 
and the peculiar circumstances of hindering, all the world will 
watch with interest ; and that the builders of commonwealths well 
might envy you. 

As we take up this task, we that look forward, (if I have 
earned a right to speak for them that look forward) beg to remind 
you, not in a spirit of admonition but in the spirit of work-fellow- 
ship, that there is but one courage and that is the courage of 
truth, because there is but one victory and that is the victory of 
truth, which is the invincible voice of God. This is our token. 

In consecrating yourself to this, therefore, swear that the day 
of compromises is done ! To every mendicant tradition that shall 
ask favors of you; to every narrow ecclesiastical prejudice that 


shall demand tribute ; most of all to the colossal inertia that you 
inherit in whatever forms they come, in whatever guises they 
present themselves — to them all say with kindness but with firm- 

Go honored, hence, go home 
Night's childless children: here your day is done, 
Pass with the stars and leave us 
With the sun. 



Ther's a sadness in the air. 
Leaves are falling everywhere 
In the grove, 
Down the lane. 

All the night and all the day 
Frosty fingers work away, 
Stripping trees 
Of their leaves. 



In the September number of the Century, E. M. Howe, a wes- 
tern journalist, has an article entitled "Country Newspapers," in 
which, in a manner true to the life and humorous, he tells of 
country papers, as he has found them. With some few exceptions, 
Mr. Howe's descriptions apply to the rural periodicals of North 
Carolina very forcibly. 

The soil of North Carolina is peculiarly adapted to the growth 
and flourishing of country newspapers. Our State is without large 
cities. Wilmington, our biggest town, with its 23,000 inhabitants, 
is in the strictest sense of the word, not a city. North Carolina is 
the provincial State of the Union, and the only one, excepting 
probably some new western states, that has no city of 50,000 or 
100,000 inhabitants. Consequently she is a State of weeklies. 
Every one of her 96 county seats has two. It is not risking 
anything to make this statement, for country newspapers go in 
pairs, dividing the patronage of their territoy or "field" which, 
while it would furnish a "good living" to the editor of one paper, 
thus necessarily inflicts two poor editors upon the community. 

I believe Nortn Carolina has better country editors and news- 
papers than other states. Perhaps the very fact of its being a 
more or less provincial State, has something to do with this. Not 
having any great city to supply her with a great daily, which her 
citizens may swear by, as Virginians do by the Eichmond Dis- 
patch, South Carolinaus by the Charleston News-and-Courier, and 
Georgians by the Atlanta Constitution, it is incumbent upon North 
Carolina's country editors to exert themselves all the more to sup- 
ply this want and to give their subscribers a country newspaper 
somewhat above the average. 

Perhaps another thing that goes to give this State good edi- 
tors is the mutual discussion as to how to improve their papers, 
by the members of the State Press Association, as they annually 
meet in convention. The papers read in these conventions are 
often found to reveal depth of thought, convincing argument and 
at times a sparkling wit.